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The Practical Supervisor

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Congratulations! You’ve finally got that break. The promotion you’ve waiting and working hard for all these years, is yours now. The rise in salary, the perks and benefits, able now to give orders and instructions and yes, you’re in command now. What a feeling!

But there is a difference now, between your job now and before. Different roles come with different sets of responsibilities. The best way to start is by reading into your new duties and responsibilities and understanding your key performance index and key responsibility areas in order to fit and in and perform your best.

Publié dans : Développement personnel
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The Practical Supervisor

  1. 1. 1 The Practical Supervisor Mohamad Idrakisyah
  2. 2. Preface 7............................................................................................. Chapter 1 - Roles & Responsibilities of a Supervisor 9....................... Responsibility to the Middle & Top Management 9............................ • Reliable - Planning Your Work 9................................................................... •Communication - With Team Members 10................................................... • Communication - Inter Department Staffs 10............................................. • Possess Skills and Knowledge - Able To Maintain Work Discipline 11.... • Possess Skills and Knowledge - Able To Uphold Employees Morale 12. • Possess Skills and Knowledge - Able To Execute Authority 13................. • Making Decisions - Production Decisions 14............................................. • Making Decisions - Job Priority 14.............................................................. • Manage Cost Control - Managing Resources 15....................................... • Manage Cost Control - Efficient Workflow 16............................................ • Manage Cost Control - Managing Unproductive Employees 17............. • Improvement Activities - Collect and Report Feedback for Productivity Improvements 18........................................................................................... Responsibility to Subordinates 19...................................................... • Right Person for the Right Job - They Must Be our Saviours and Not our Worst Nightmare 19............................................................................... • Instruct and Train Employees – Strive for Continuous Improvement 20.. • Trusting Work Climate – Employees Are Able To Talk Openly About Problems 21.................................................................................................... • Treating all Employees Equally – United We Stand, Divided We Fall 22. • Be a Pillar of Support – as a Counsellor 23................................................. • Be a Pillar of Support – as a Mentor 24........................................................ Building on Your Strengths and Overcoming Your Weaknesses 25.... Chapter 2 - Keys to Effective Supervision 27...................................... 2
  3. 3. • Support Employees Growth 27.................................................................... • Unite With Your Team 28............................................................................... • Praise Employees 29..................................................................................... • Expect Excellence 30..................................................................................... • Require Responsibility 31............................................................................. • Verify Potential 32.......................................................................................... • Instil Independence 33................................................................................. • Optimise Ownership 34................................................................................ • Reinforce Relationship 35............................................................................. Chapter 3 - Communications Basics 36............................................... Factors That Affects Your Communication 36...................................... • The Knowledge About Your Work 36.......................................................... • Use of Authority 37........................................................................................ • Show of Self Confidence 38......................................................................... • Note Taking 39............................................................................................... • Asking Questions 39..................................................................................... Chapter 4 - Managing Staff Performance 41...................................... Setting Performance Standards 41...................................................... • Good Management Practices 41................................................................. • Benchmarking Against Good Industry Practices 42................................... • Practical and Achievable Performance Standards 42................................ Measuring and Evaluating Performance 44........................................ • Achieving Performance Targets 44.............................................................. • Taking Corrective Actions 45........................................................................ Chapter 5 –Essential Leadership Skills 47........................................... Setting a Good Example 47................................................................. • Driver of the Company’s Mission, Vision and Values 47............................ 3
  4. 4. • Lead Change 48............................................................................................. • Lead by Example 49...................................................................................... Empowering and Energising 50.......................................................... • Inspire and Energise Team Members 50..................................................... • Empower Employees 51............................................................................... Leading Your Team 52......................................................................... • Involve Everyone – Use Team Approach 52................................................ • Monitor Progress but Don’t Micromanage 54............................................ Chapter 6 –Managing Conflicts at Workplace 56............................... Workplace Conflicts 56....................................................................... • What Creates Conflicts? 56........................................................................... • Reasons Behind Conflicts 57........................................................................ • Conflict Resolution Strategies 59................................................................. Chapter 7 –Managing Discipline at Workplace 61.............................. Who Is Responsible? 61...................................................................... •Enforcing Discipline 62................................................................................... Chapter 8 –Motivating and Coaching Your Team 64........................... Ask Versus Tell Approach 64............................................................... •Focus on the Task 65........................................................................................ •Coaching Objectives 66.................................................................................. •Coaching Situations 67................................................................................... •Coaching Plus Points 68.................................................................................. Parting Words 70................................................................................ About the Author 72........................................................................... Bibliography 74.................................................................................. 4
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  7. 7. Preface Congratulations! You’ve finally got that break. The promotion you’ve waiting and working hard for all these years, is yours now. The rise in salary, the perks and benefits, able now to give orders and instructions and yes, you’re in command now. What a feeling! But there is a difference now, between your job now and before. Different roles come with different sets of responsibilities. The best way to start is by reading into your new duties and responsibilities and understanding your key performance index and key responsibility areas in order to fit and in and perform your best. When you succeed, you would rise even further in your career, otherwise you’ll be reverted to your earlier position. In worst case scenario, terminated for non-performance. Obviously, failure is not an option here, so let’s move on to learn what is there to know, to succeed and excel as a supervisor. This book is not about soft skills you’d need know as a supervisor. Though, it’ll be good if you could get your hands on such books for your own personal development. This book is written to address some of the immediate issues you might face at your workplace. It acts as your practical guidebook on how you could practically address some the challenges, you’ll come across 7
  8. 8. daily at your workplace. It explains the “how” part, to get straight to the problem and solve it. The work-related challenges covered in this book are not exhaustive, but it acts as good start. It gives you the big picture of the roles and responsibilities expected of you and how you could dive in straight into it and emerge as a good role model supervisor. 8
  9. 9. Chapter 1 - Roles & Responsibilities of a Supervisor Responsibility to the Middle & Top Management • Reliable - Planning Your Work Precision planning is the key to any successful business, no matter its size. Planning can help alleviate workplace stress and increase productivity. Rather than plan work too far in advance, do it daily, modifying your agenda for the next day according to new priorities and unfinished business from the day before. This can help you accomplish goals more efficiently. Planning is the work you do before the real work. More like a blueprint before constructing an object. It is about thinking over issues, the pros and cons to eliminate firefighting when the work is halfway through. As the saying goes, plan your work and work your plan. It is meant to reduce loss of valuable resources that could lead to negative financial implications to your organization. It would be wise not to rush the planning process but good to speed up its implementation and not the other way around. Many has learned the hard way that haste makes waste. 9
  10. 10. •Communication - With Team Members Effective communication and teamwork will help a business maintain a positive work environment. Effective communication also permeates throughout all areas of business operations, because a positive workplace means happier employees are interacting with the public and with consumers. Effective communication among business teams begins with leadership that sets clear methods and standards. There are two types of persons. A machine person and a people person. The former can’t stand people and latter hates working on machines. The ones that can adapt to both man and machine becomes a right fit for the job. You need to be good at working with machines, as they are your tools of your trade. A people person is crucial to keep the team together to ensure that the job gets done. Weakness in dealing with both man and machine, leads communication problems between supervisors and subordinates, that could result in disastrous implications to the production line. • Communication - Inter Department Staffs If your business has multiple departments or employees who are in charge of different tasks, it is important to u n d e r s t a n d h ow e ffe c t ive i n te rd e p a r t m e n t a l communication works. Interdepartmental communication is the process of sharing information between different business groups. Regardless of how many employees a 10
  11. 11. business has, communication among employees helps to ensure the business runs seamlessly. No man is an island and one cannot work in silos, if they are serious about getting the job done and done well. Inter department rivalries are unhealthy as it stalls progress at workplace. It is a result of “they against me” and “I am more important than them” behaviours. Such attitude has no winners and the organization becomes the loser. By putting aside such behaviours in the interest of the organization, it would make everyone a winner. • Possess Skills and Knowledge - Able to Maintain Work Discipline The point of administering any type of discipline in a workplace setting is to change negative behaviours into positive ones. If an employee routinely comes in late, for example, the goal of any employer action is to get the employee to be at work on time. The goal is not to punish per se, but instead to change behaviour. All internal mechanisms inside a clock has to work precisely as designed to be able to tell the time correctly at all times. If faulty mechanisms are not calibrated and damaged ones are not removed and replaced, the time of the day would be any one’s guess. Imagine such a situation in a production line. With undisciplined workforce, it would be an uphill task for supervisors to achieve the set daily production and 11
  12. 12. quality targets. They must look out for bad apples and take the necessary disciplinary action to arrest the problem in the butt, as the weakest link in a chain could collapse the entire operations. • Possess Skills and Knowledge - Able to Uphold Employees Morale Low employee morale is detrimental to work environments, so it's essential that supervisors react to it as soon as they recognise it. Low morale can cause employees feel so disconnected from the companies they work for that they lose interest in coming to work, become less productive and are less invested in the growth of the business and their own personal and professional development. Business uncertainties and new changes brought about by higher management may not augur well with employees. The rumour mill goes into full gear, creating divisions among employees. The supervisors need to understand and learn all there is need to know about the issues that are affecting the morale of their team members, so as to keep the matter well under control. In such times, they need to become the pillar of strength to their members, in order to keep their morale high. With immediate and proper explanation, supervisors could help calm the situation and weed out rumours. The employees would be able to get their acts together and work with high spirits once again. 12
  13. 13. • Possess Skills and Knowledge - Able to Execute Authority Authority is the formal right to do the work. Authority gives the supervisor the power to enforce obedience. It is the power to give orders and make sure that these orders are obeyed. It is a relationship between two individuals, the supervisor and the subordinate. The supervisor frames and transmits decisions with the expectation that they will be accepted by the subordinate. The subordinate expects such decisions, and his conduct is determined by them. When you are promoted amongst your colleagues and tasked with supervising them, the job becomes a little tricky. They know your weaknesses and tend to take you for granted. You were once with them as colleagues and now to instruct them on what to do, it is not going to be easy, for either one of you. Organisations has unwritten policies that once a person gets promoted, they need to be transferred. It is effective to manage a new team than to work with an existing team who knows all too much about you. But in smaller organisations, this may not be possible, and you have to make the best of it and perform. The trick is to be firm where necessary and friendly when possible. There must be a balance. Either extreme would spell disaster for you and for your team. When it involves work, be firm and when it involves creating a happy and conducive work environment, be friendly. You’ll need to learn the ropes and learn it fast. 13
  14. 14. • Making Decisions - Production Decisions Supervisors are required to make a series of decisions in the production function. They plan, organise, staff, direct and control all the activities in the process of converting all the inputs into finished products. At each level, supervisors are expected to make decisions and implement them too. Things that can go wrong will go wrong. Despite good planning and coordinated execution, the chances that things might not work as planned will always remain. Machine breakdowns, disruption to the supplies of utilities, rejections from quality issues and others, calls for some problem solving and decision-making skills from the supervisor. These are some of problems that supervisors fear having to face in the production line but rightfully, they should not. They should focus on making decision to solve the problem then worrying over them. Worries does not solve problems but problem solving and decision making does. There are lessons to be learned and the right counter measures must be put in place to avoid a similar recurrence in the future. You need to take charge of the situation, find a way with your team and come out of it victorious. • Making Decisions - Job Priority In order to do your job effectively and to the best of your ability it helps to prioritise your tasks. Planning your day ensures you meet company goals and deadlines, and it helps keep you in line with what is expected from you by management. When you prioritise tasks, you perform at 14
  15. 15. higher levels, which will make you more responsible, efficient and reliable. It also helps you to limit interruptions and helps prevent you from wasting time. Work never ends and as much as you would like to there is only so much one could within the given number of working hours. A little knowledge on time and task management helps. We need to produce our best work to keep the productivity and efficiency of the plant at optimum levels. With experience, you’ll be able to differentiate tasks that are urgent, important and time wasters. Be focused, spent time on tasks that matters that has a positive impact on your roles and responsibilities as a supervisor. • Manage Cost Control - Managing Resources Resource management is acquiring, allocating and managing the resources, such as individuals and their skills, finances, technology, materials, machinery and natural resources required for a project. Resource management ensures that internal and external resources are used effectively on time and to budget. Low production cost keeps prices of products and services low and helps increase sales in the competitive market. This is possible when wastage are kept in check. Scheduled maintenance of plant and machineries must be in place to minimise breakdowns. Expenses on utilities must relate to production output and if there is a mismatch, it must be rectified. 15
  16. 16. Product quality inspections must be stringent to minimise rejections and possible delays in deliveries to buyers. Workplace safety must be monitored to prevent occupational hazards that could lead to loss of man hours which could disrupt plant operations. Overstocking of production material must be avoided as it takes up valuable space, prone to damages and risks expiry of its shelf life. If these issues are left unresolved, the products and services of the organization becomes uncompetitive in the marketplace and its financial implications are all too obvious. • Manage Cost Control - Efficient Workflow Every team is different, and every workflow is different. Take some time to figure out what kind of system works for you. Having a workflow in place, no matter how simple, brings so much sanity to a team. When there’s a defined system in place, everyone knows exactly what their responsibilities are and how it will contribute to the bigger picture. Everyone knows what’s expected of them and know who to ask if they have a question. It’s an empowering way to work, and empowered people are productive people. We need to periodically evaluate the plant layout, to see if the arrangement of machineries and workstations are rightly position for operational effectiveness and efficiency. Past set ups might not jive well with present production requirement. Supervisors could do a motion study to see if the movement and man and material is at its minimum and 16
  17. 17. get it reorganised, if it not. These are some of the initiatives that could save your organization time and money. • Manage Cost Control - Managing Unproductive Employees It’s every supervisor’s nightmare: being stuck with team members who can’t seem to or be bothered to, get their acts together. We run into people who are a constant pain. They’re not punctual. They take longer than everyone else to finish their work. The work they do isn’t great. And they have an irresistible urge to check their phone every few minutes. You suspect they don’t put in 100 percent because if they did, it’d be reflected in their productivity. You’ve even spoken to them about it. They shared their sob story with you and promised to do better, but nothing’s changed. You wonder what’s up. Stop giving them the benefit of doubt. You have a slacker on your hands, and you have to get tough with them. The reason organisations employ people is to add value to their business. They are deemed as investment by the organization and expected to yield profits, not losses and end up as liabilities to the organization. Supervisors must have an eye for non-performers and isolate them for training and development. They need to help turn them into performers if they don’t wish to see them as paid passengers in the team. If all else fails, letting them go would be a move in a right direction. If this ignored and swept under the carpet, the 17
  18. 18. rest of your team members would suffer, and so does your organization. You are not paid become the nice guy, but you are paid to do the right thing. • Improvement Activities - Collect and Report Feedback for Productivity Improvements Many companies are starting to treat employees like customers. They want to earn their engagement, loyalty, and advocacy. The first step to building healthy and happy work cultures is by gathering and analysing employee feedback. Not all employee feedback is equal, though. Learn about the basics of employee satisfaction and how you can effectively collect, analyse, and implement employee feedback to improve work productivity and job satisfaction in your workplace. Placing suggestion boxes for employees’ feedback is doomed to fail if supervisors don’t take it seriously and soon the employees would know it. If it is acted upon and the outcome is shared with your team members, it would motivate them to participate more actively in the future. They would feel appreciated that the organization takes them seriously by implementing their feedbacks, which makes them feel they have a say in the organization. Small rewards in appreciation of their feedbacks would also go a long way, if the organization is serious about continuous improvement culture. 18
  19. 19. Responsibility to Subordinates • Right Person for the Right Job - They Must Be Our Saviours and Not Our Worst Nightmare Hiring the right employees can make or break your business. A person committed to his or her career is the candidate you want to hire. You don't want to hire an employee who switches careers or jobs frequently, just to get a higher salary. If a candidate is not loyal to any company, hiring this person could definitely be a problem for your business. You would also want to find an employee that will fit in with your company's culture. It is commonly known that people are the most valuable asset of an organization. But in actual fact, only the performing ones are, the rest are just liabilities. It is only right for the supervisor to sit in as the panel of interviewers to identify and select the right candidate for the job. This crucial task must not be left to Human Resource alone. It is expected of candidates to put up their best show during the interview process, but it takes an experienced interviewer to know the difference. Emphasis must be made on the candidate’s skills and experience, but their attitude should matter the most. People can be trained and taught if they fall short of the required skills and experience, provided they have the right attitude. Employing someone with remarkable skills and experience, but with bad attitude, is a failure from the 19
  20. 20. start. Skills and experience can be acquired over time, but attitude is something else, either they have it or they don’t. If for some reason, the wrong candidate is employed, all is not lost. Make use of the probation period to evaluate his or her performance, caution them if they fall short of performance and if everything else fails, terminating their services would be your great service to the organization and your team members. • Instruct and Train Employees – Strive for Continuous Improvement Continuous improvement process is an ongoing effort to make improvements to the products, services, or processes of the organization. The continuous improvement process is one of ongoing incremental improvements, where a business continues normal business activities, while constantly seeking out new opportunities to add value to their products, services and processes. Continuous quality improvement can accomplish major change over time; however, it is completely driven by the input of employees, as its effectiveness relies on the team’s dedication to the process. The Japanese manufacturing industry strived on “Kaizen”, meaning continuous improvement. The covers the work process in the areas of man, machine, material and method. Each one of these elements undergoes continuous improvement process that results in improvements to its product and services. This has led to the production and operations efficiency of Japanese 20
  21. 21. companies, triumphing over their competition in the global markets. Supervisors may form a small think tank group with their team members to find a better way to do things. The person who does the job knows it better than anyone less. Surely, many brains put together is better than one. You’ll be surprised by the solutions they could provide that resolves many of the production and manufacturing issues that routinely beleaguers your organization. • Trusting Work Climate – Employees Are Able to Talk Openly About Problems Getting candid opinions from your direct reports can be difficult. After all, no one wants to upset the boss. Supervisors need to encourage their team members to have honest conversations with them, and to speak up when it’s important, because they are on the job and they understand problems and possibilities, what works and what doesn’t, better than you. The management style of the supervisor determines, if they are loved or despised by their team members. Supervisors can’t get it wrong if they manage staffs professionally, both in a fair and firm manner. The element of fear would diminish, and an atmosphere of trust would flourish. The rank barrier between a supervisor and subordinate ought to be removed and replaced with mutual respect for one another. Staffs must be allowed to speak their minds 21
  22. 22. freely without fear of any repercussions. This builds trust and this trust must never be broken. It must be remembered that, irrespective of one’s rank and position in the organization, we are all actually employees of the same organization. No one person is important or greater than the other. We are just one team, employed by the organization to achieve its business goals and objectives. • Treating All Employees Equally – United We Stand, Divided We Fall Most of us have experienced favouritism. If you weren’t the favourite, do you remember how that made you feel? The chances are high that it didn’t make you feel positive about yourself or the person showing preferences. Workplace favouritism feels even worse, as it decreases morale and productivity. That’s why it is critical for supervisors to understand why treating employees fairly, consistently across their workforce, is necessary for individual and overall company success. Dissenting voices must be allowed for staffs to vent their dissatisfaction or unhappiness over any work-related matter. This gives an opportunity for the supervisors to resolve problems before it gets out of control, which if left unattended, could make matters worse for their organization. 22
  23. 23. Supervisors must learn to counter dissents with reasons and backed up by facts and figures. Anything less would not go down well with your team members. Supervisors must take a professional approach in dealing with dissents and avoid taking it personally. It is not about the supervisor or the dissenters as a person. It is all about the issue they are unhappy about. They just need to focus on the issue and resolve it professionally and abstain from taking it personally. • Be a Pillar of Support – As a Counsellor The counselling process is about providing a sounding board for an employee, giving them a safe place to talk about issues that trouble them, and allowing supervisors to help them find their own solutions to problems or develop better ways to manage issues. It is not about giving advice, but about providing a non- judgmental, empathic and accessible means to allow an employee to find a way forward. To perform well at work, one needs to be in the right mind frame to give their best. Sometimes, we may have a team member who might be facing some personal problems. They might not want to bother you with this, but like it or not, you’re involved as the work of team would suffer as a consequence. You might need to counsel them, suggest solutions that could help them get out of the problem. 23
  24. 24. Your counselling may or may not have solved their problem. But since you cared and listened, this brings relief to them and you’re remembered for being there for them. That matters. As a word of caution, try not get involved too personally in trying to solve their problem, lest it now becomes your problem. Always draw the line and do not cross it. • Be a Pillar of Support – As a Mentor As a mentor, supervisors focus on the growth and development of their team members. It’s a deeper connection than the one between a supervisor and a team member. When supervisors only care about productivity, employees in return would only care about their pay check. Mentors care about their team members and want to see them succeed. As a mentor, supervisors can create strong relationships with their team members by prioritising their wellbeing. Being a supervisor is a responsibility, being a mentor is a commitment. Your rise in career could be a success story your team members want to follow. Be the best in what you do, do the right things and always walk the talk. These are some of the qualities that attracts others and gives you a strong influence over them. They would readily listen to you, want to learn from you and want to become like you. It is contagious. Your job as a supervisor is easy in good times but you’ll be remembered more if you succeed in managing during bad times. This is the time you’d need to stand strong as a 24
  25. 25. pillar, and your team members would feel secured and confident having you as their mentor in riding through tough times. Obviously, you need to have what it takes to be their mentor. It must be earned. Building on Your Strengths and Overcoming Your Weaknesses Survey finds that about 89% of managers believe employees leave for more money. It also states that, 88% of employees actually leave for reasons related to the job, the culture, the manager or the work environment. Another 43% of workers report that they do not feel valued by their supervisors. This gives credence to the common finding that people leave the bosses, not the organization. Further, those who’ve left, didn’t mind a downgrade in salary or in position. They felt happy working under a better supervisor and this conducive work environment allowed them to perform better than their last job. About 71% of employers do not engage with their workers. And 66% of workers do not identify with or feel motivated to drive their employer’s business goals and objectives. Such a situation takes place when employers treat their staffs as employees, and not as partners. As far as the employers are concerned, employees are just numbers in their payroll, to be used and discarded. As a consequence, employees do not have a sense of belonging towards the organization. They stay put when it is in their best interest and leave for the same reason. There 25
  26. 26. is no loyalty. Japanese companies practice a culture of lifelong employment, treating their employees as partners. Their employees remain in employment during good and bad time as a result of high employee engagement, which evident across their organization. Despite being treated well by their supervisors, it remains true that employees still leave for greener pastures, but this only accounts for 12%. The main reason 88% of them leave jobs is because of poor relationship with their immediate supervisor. High employee attrition has bad financial implications to the organization. It drains the organization of time and money for new recruitment, training and development. Your competitors would gain the most, when those who leave, take along their experience and expertise with them. These some of the pertinent issues facing the industry, and as supervisors, we need to know and learn of our weaknesses to become accepted and respected team leaders. 26
  27. 27. Chapter 2 - Keys to Effective Supervision • Support Employees Growth Taking an active role in the development of your team demonstrates confidence and concern for the future of the organization. It also gives employees feelings of significance, community, and value. When you create a culture in which employees can reach their goals and know their thoughts and insights are appreciated, you boost productivity, morale, and engagement. Employees may want to stay and grow in the organization and supervisors can help by making the career path clear for them. They want to see how they could get from point A to B and expect their organization to support them with their career development plan. Supervisors can discuss this with the higher management and find ways to support their team members in their career development plan. They could begin by having a comprehensive training and development plan in place A competency-based training helps close the gaps of skills required of an employee. This would be to the advantage of the organization to have competent work force, well suited for the task they are entrusted. The problem with some organisations is that they view training 27
  28. 28. as expenses, when rightfully they should view it as an investment. You build the people; they build the company. Performance appraisal must be used as a template to help employees achieve the work standards required of them by the organization. It must be used as tool to uplift them, not as a tool to find fault and punish them. Performance appraisal is usually prepared at the beginning of the year and evaluated by the end of the year. Supervisors need not wait to appraise their team member at the end of the year end, rather a quarterly assessment would be recommended. With quarterly evaluation, the performance of staffs can be monitored closely, and help could be extended to them, if they fall short. When this is done continuously, supervisors could expect all their team members to succeed in attaining the standards required of them. • Unite with Your Team Business is a team sport. If your team respects you, they’ll go above and beyond for you. But if they don’t respect you, you’ll have trouble succeeding. In order to gain and keep the respect of your team member, you have to prove that you’re worthy, especially if you were recently promoted to your supervisory position. Supervisors need to find all ways possible to stay closer to their team members. Instead of waiting for them to come see us, we should be the one to go and talk to them. We 28
  29. 29. need to be available and readily accessible to them all possible times. We ought to practice an open-door policy, where our team members could walk in and walk out to meet us without notice. They must be able to talk to us on a one to one basis to discuss and resolve matters pertaining to work and non-work issues. This creates good bonding, hinders miscommunication and a show a genuine concern for our team members as members of the family. • Praise Employees When the issues warrant it, supervisors should praise their team members in public, but must learn to only reprimand them in private. Reprimanding individuals must never be done publicly, unless it is addressed generally to all the team members. Even if your patience is being tested, hold your tongue. This will benefit both you and your employee in terms of maintaining respectability. As human beings, we don’t respond well to criticism. Most people go into a defensive mode when you give them critical feedback, so it needs to be done in private. Sometimes a little motivation goes a long way for the staffs we manage. If you find them doing something right, praise them then and there. Highlight this even during your meeting with all your team members. This would encourage them to keep up to the good work, and what’s more, it motivates the members of your team do the same. 29
  30. 30. The trick is to catch them doing right and take it as an opportunity to praise them. If we only train our eyes to catch them doing wrong, such actions would make staffs feel unappreciated and demotivated. Staffs who’ve been humiliated in front of others would always remember you for the wrong reason. They’ve lost their dignity in front of their colleagues and you’ve lost your respect and credibility as their supervisor. There are no winners here, just losers. • Expect Excellence Want your team to roar past their goals? Explain the big picture, why they are doing what they are doing and set clear expectations. Your employees need to understand how they fit into the company, why their job is important and what they must do to help the company reach its goals. Plumb deeply to make sure each and every team member understands how he or she contributes to the overall company. Never underestimate the potential of your team members. Do make it a point to set a high but achievable target in order for them to reach their maximum potential. For this to work, supervisors must ensure that each one of their members are fully aware and clearly understand what their job requires of them. Job description, key performance area and key performance index must be updated on a regular basis to reflect the current work process. Otherwise it would 30
  31. 31. difficult to evaluate the performance of your team members based on outdated benchmarks. • Require Responsibility A lack of accountability and responsibility at work sends a message to the rest of your staff that lower standards are okay. The team may begin to resent the low-performing employee and you as their supervisor, because they have to shoulder more work to make up for their teammate’s deficiencies. And if you don’t address the problem employee, the team may perceive it as favouritism or weakness, which can be demotivating for everyone. Supervisors may find it easy to blame all else when things go wrong. This finger pointing and blame game is not a good problem-solving approach. It should not be defined as “your problem” or “my problem”, but rather as “our problem”. The employees are responsible for their work, but as supervisors, we are accountable for all of them. The “we” concept must be applied in taking ownership of problem. Instead of wasting time fighting over the problem, we should rather spend it on solution finding. Once the root cause has been identified, countermeasures must be put in place to avoid further recurrence. It may include reprimanding the person responsible or putting countermeasures in place that would put the matter to rest. Taking responsibility, being accountable, and focusing more on decision making and problem solving, should be the work culture of all members of the organization. 31
  32. 32. • Verify Potential The ability to recognise high-potential talent builds an organisation’s competitive advantage for the future and allows an organization to fill mission critical roles. High potential employees can be identified as individuals who have the ability, drive, and aspiration to hold higher positions in an organization. Once these individuals have been found, they can be trained to prepare for future leadership positions. These development efforts allow high potentials to advance and improve within an organization instead of taking their skills and expertise elsewhere. Supervisors need to drive the message to team members on the importance of meritocracy. That promotion and other financial benefits would not depend solely on their academic qualifications or years of service alone, but it is their performance that counts. Promotions should not be given automatically, as gives them the impression the organization is obliged to promote them someday, irrespective of their performance rating in their organization. Supervisors must not give meaning to the word “it’s who you know and not what you know”. Organization don’t grow or last on such concepts. It must the best man wins. It should not also be the case of winners take all and losers has to fall either. Supervisors can ear mark and groom potential team members and at the same time help the 32
  33. 33. weaker ones to catch up, provided their shortfalls are not related to any disciplinary or attitude problem. • Instil Independence If you manage other people, the first thing you need to understand is that your success depends on their success. The more you empower your employees, the more they will grow and thrive. Too many bosses want to be the smartest person in the room, but if this is always true you have utterly failed as their supervisor. Supervisors may consider giving their employees a little autonomy to help them prove their worthiness and move up the career ladder. It gives them sense of independence to do their job the way they see fit with least interference from their supervisors. Delegation of work is also a form of autonomy which allow team members to learn risk taking, problem solving and decision making. It is not meant to be a blank cheque for the team members and supervisors must still keep an eye on them to prevent and untoward incidents. When staffs are given a little autonomy and trusted with delegation, it makes them more competent in their roles. It also frees up time for the supervisor to attend to other pressing issues, which has a higher impact on their role as a supervisor. Avoid being the supervisor who wants full control over everything and anything and not wanting to trust their staffs. As a result, the supervisor would always seem to be 33
  34. 34. busy and disorganised, unable grow in their career and pulling down their team members with them. It is a clear sign of weakness as a supervisor. • Optimise Ownership Treating employees as partners leads to an understanding among the workforce that they have a shared purpose and a common goal that everybody is working towards. All employees irrespective of the role, have valuable inputs for the business. Treating all employees as partners, cannot be restricted to a certain set of people alone but has to be consistent across the entire workforce. It is important to consider each and every employee from the bottom line to the top line as partners. In fact, employees who are treated as an important part of the organization are more likely to contribute to its growth, irrespective of their designation. This concept of treating employees as partners, changes them from behaving as an employee towards entrepreneurial like behaviour that creates a big difference on how they think and work. Innovation, creativity and risk-taking acumens are part of an entrepreneur’s mind set. That is why it is important to engage them in all aspects of the operations as a recognition of them as partners. It eases the job of the supervisor as he or she would now have the support of team members in realising of the organisation’s goal and objectives. 34
  35. 35. • Reinforce Relationship As a supervisor, you need to get in on the action and build strong relationships and alliance with your staff. Our employees might feel underpaid, under appreciated or under stimulated. But if they are happy with their teammates, they may choose to stay on at your firm for years longer than they would otherwise. A series of strong peer relations can even help your employees look forward to their work week. This is why you need to encourage friendly employee relationships among all your team members. As sharing is a mark of caring, supervisors need to demonstrate this relationship with their team members, and it must be done sincerely. You fake this and they would know. Time invested in bonding with them, especially on a one to one basis, reaps great benefits. It grows from employer – employee relationship to a family like bondage. It is important to not only know about your team member as an individual, but to know and learn of their family members. Ask to be invited (only if it is okay with them) to their homes to get to know their families. As a result, team members would be open and honest and have a higher level of respect towards you. They would not want to do anything foolish, that could embarrass them based on the relationship you have with the members of their family. 35
  36. 36. Chapter 3 - Communications Basics Factors That Affects Your Communication • The Knowledge About Your Work Learning on the job is probably the single most important factor driving your performance at work. You won’t know everything you need to about your job when you’re hired, no matter how good your education is or how much experience you had in previous positions. The road to learning starts with a willingness to admit what you don’t know and an interest in learning new things. To improve your expertise, you must first identify gaps in your knowledge. You aren’t likely to be motivated to learn new things, nor can you be strategic about learning, if you’re not aware of what you know, and you don’t. It could be that you rose from rank and file to become a supervisor within the same organization. Or, you could have come in from a different organization and was offered the job as a supervisor. In the former, you might have the necessary knowledge on how work gets done, based on your years working there and, in the latter, you as a new employee have got learn it fast. Either way, you would still have to learn all there is to know of your job as a supervisor. It is important that must learn to be at least one step ahead of your team members. 36
  37. 37. It would be difficult for your team members to look up to you as their superior, if your knowledge of work is far more inferior than theirs. It would be a challenge to you when it comes to communicating work related issues with them as they may not take you seriously. It is easier to communicate and convince them when you the know the job as the back of your palm. • Use of Authority As a supervisor within your organization, you're in a position of authority. Authority is the most important principle for supervisors to understand because it's a powerful weapon of influence. Authority is easy to use and even easier to abuse. Once you've broken the trust of your employees, it will be hard to regain. Authority is not to be used for personal gain. Eventually, it will come back to bite you. Rather, use this principle wisely, and it will result in happier, more engaged employees who genuinely trust your leadership. The right use of authority works to your advantage and its abuse can bring you down. You need to use it wisely to remain effectively in charge in supervising your team members. If you were once their colleague, they might not want to take you seriously. If you are new to the workplace, they are unsure of you and perhaps want to test you. When caught in such situations, you ought not be intimidated or caught between work and buddies. You need to put your foot down and exert your authority within the confines of your role as a supervisor. It must strictly be 37
  38. 38. work related and justified with facts and figure that gives no room to your team members to questions the validity of your authority. As difficult it may be in the beginning, over time, you’d learn to execute your authority confidently, in a fair and just manner. • Show of Self Confidence Lack of self-confidence could actually hold you back in the workplace and prevent you from reaching your full potential. Having insecurities at work can make it hard to focus on your development and future success. On the other hand, being confident in yourself and your abilities helps you to feel good, increases your job satisfaction, and builds up your all-around happiness in your role. Inculcating confidence is not something you can cut and paste on you. It’s not going to be that simple as it a process and process takes time. Communication is something we do every day with our team members. It is the core of our job as the supervisor and we need to be way good at it. Communicating confidently is prerequisite to effective communication. Supervisors can learn to become confident communicators. Though the list is not exhaustive, an increase in work related experience, learning of new skills and gaining knowledge from vast reading, strengthens confidence within oneself. It brings maturity to your thinking and behaviour as a supervisor and this aura of confidence can be experienced by your team members in your communications with them. 38
  39. 39. • Note Taking Taking notes gives you the opportunity to highlight key points and details that might otherwise slip your mind, and you never know when these fragments of knowledge will come in handy. Taking notes not only helps you retain more information, but it’s also the key to boosting your productivity at work. Information we see and hear stays within our mind only for a good 24 hours. It slowly gets erased overtime and soon it is forgotten. A notebook and a pen in our pockets are our tools of the trade and must be in our possession at all times. We need to write down what we see, hear and ideas that matters to our work. These notes would be good place to start when communicating with our team member, where work related matters are discussed, and solutions are found. It prevents lengthy meetings by getting straight to the point and it makes everyone happy when meetings are short, brief and productive. • Asking Questions Measuring engagement at work can be difficult. It's not like managers can read employees minds, so the best way to find out how to engage employees is to ask. What question should supervisors ask their team members to gain insight as to their engagement with their job and with the company? The answers may vary, but they all require actual listening and extending empathy toward the employee to gain the most from the responses. 39
  40. 40. It is hard to get feedback and suggestions from the team members if the meeting session is badly conducted. In situations where we do all the talking and they do all the listening, it is a classroom session, not a meeting session. It becomes a monologue session and not a dialogue session. Feedbacks and suggestions are hard to come from our team members, if we don’t ask them. After having told them what you intended to tell them, instead of waiting for them to ask the questions, we could start the ball rolling. Ask them questions to gauge if they’ve understood what you’ve told them. It helps eradicate miscommunications and the unwanted problems that comes with it. When they pose a question to you, answer by throwing them another question. Instead of providing direct answers, your questions to them should make them think. This would help them to come up with solutions, which may surprise you. We want our team members to be thinkers and not blind order takers. We want them to participate in decision making, to own the problem and make a collective decision to solve the problem. 40
  41. 41. Chapter 4 - Managing Staff Performance Setting Performance Standards • Good Management Practices There's hardly anything worse for company morale than supervisors who practice the "do as I say, not as I do" philosophy. When this happens, you can almost see the loss of enthusiasm and goodwill among your team members. No matter what the situation is, double standard, like witnessing people say one thing, and then doing another, always feel like a betrayal. They can be very destructive. If this ever happened to you, you can probably remember that sense of disappointment and letdown. Code of conduct is a new norm in workplace and adherence to it is mandatory across the board. No exceptions. Read it, understand it and make it a culture in your workplace and the change must come first from you. It all about leadership by example and walking the talk. People see and people do. It should not be the case when the top breaks the law, they are allowed to get away, and when the bottom does the same, they are punished. Then you are sending out the wrong message and the code of conducts becomes a sham. In fact, when the top gets punished, the message would be 41
  42. 42. loud and clear for the bottom to toe the line. Hence, the implementation and the execution of the code of conduct, which covers issues such as ethics, morality and integrity, must be seen to be done without fear or favour. • Benchmarking Against Good Industry Practices Benchmarking is a common practice and sensible exercise to establish baselines, define best practices, identify improvement opportunities and create a competitive environment within the organization. Integrating benchmarking into your organization will result in valuable data that encourages discussion and sparks new ideas and practices. At its best, it can be used as a tool to help companies evaluate and prioritise improvement opportunities. Business is about being competitive. Information is readily available out there on how other organisations are managing their business profitably. Learn about their product and service quality standards, labor practices, adherence to environmental regulations, and on how they are managing their production efficiently and effectively. Also learn from their flaws to prevent it from happening at your workplace. Supervisors need be sensitive to the changes that is taking place around them to stay ahead of the competition. • Practical and Achievable Performance Standards Since employees are ultimately responsible for reaching their goals, they need to have a strong voice in setting 42
  43. 43. them. Discuss with them whether the targets are both realistic and challenging enough. Be careful though, your team members are likely to resent you if you insist on goals that are too challenging to accomplish. At the same time, you don’t want to aim too low, either. If you are overly cautious, you will miss opportunities and settle for mediocrity. When done well, stretch goals create a lot of energy and momentum in an organization. But, when done badly, they do not achieve the goal of motivating employees and helping them achieve better performance as they were designed to do. Even worse, poorly set goals can be destructive to employees’ morale and productivity, and to the organisation’s performance overall. The organisational goals and objectives are usually discussed and decided by the higher management. It is later cascaded down the line for implementation and the supervisor and their team members are tasked to achieve these production targets. Sometimes these targets can be ambitious and unrealistic compared to the resources made available to the supervisor to achieve them. It would be good if the supervisor could discuss this with the higher management to figure out a more realistic target, based on resources and capabilities available in the organization. They may initially oppose your idea, but this can be mitigated if you come to the meeting prepared. Prepare to counter them with facts, figures and historical data to convince the management of your side of the argument. In addition, you need to also provide alternative solutions, if they still insist upon the original targets. 43
  44. 44. Explain to them your constraints and what you’d need if they’d want to stick to their initial plan. Such discussion may not always end well, but at least you’ve made your case clear. It abstains you from blame should things don’t work as planned. Convey the outcome of the discussion with your team members, at least they’ll know you’ve tried your best. Measuring and Evaluating Performance • Achieving Performance Targets Performance measurement and target setting are important to the growth process. Knowing how the different areas of your business are performing is valuable information in its own right, but a good measurement system will also let you examine the triggers for any changes in performance. This puts you in a better position to manage your team’s performance proactively. Once you've identified the key areas that drive your business performance and found a way to measure them, then a natural next step is to start setting performance targets to give everyone in your business a clear sense of what they should be aiming for. What gets measured, gets done. Now that you have numbers to achieve for the year, it can be broken down to monthly and quarterly target for easy measurement and evaluation. It’ll be too late if you were to wait till year end to see if your team and you have achieved the numbers. It is similar to what we’ve discussed earlier with regards to 44
  45. 45. staff performance appraisal. It is easier to take the necessary corrective actions at intervals, not when the year is about to end and get busy firefighting trying to make corrections, which by the time it’ll be all too late. • Taking Corrective Actions Lean management approach enables businesses to be continually improve over time. The goal is to create a lean environment which will help to improve quality and efficiency. It's about finding anything that doesn't add value and cutting it out to ensure time, money and effort aren't being shattered. There are many concepts that can be used to manage our work is a systematic and professional manner to produce the desired results at workplace. You can learn about these business tools from books and search them in the internet. One example would be the cost and effect diagram. It can be used to trouble shoot shortfalls in performance and solutions can be drawn up to take the necessary correction actions. It is a systematic and scientific method of finding and solving problems as opposed to generating solutions through one’s intuition and gut feelings. This concept uses the 4M method, which involves man, machine, method and material, all which are crucial factors, having direct impact of the performance of the organization. As a practical guide towards the application 4M concept, start by drawing a flow chart of your operations workflow. 45
  46. 46. Identify the problem areas along the workflow that hampers the production process. Later, separate these problems into man, machine, method and material. Brainstorm with your team to identify solutions and later implement these corrective measures to overcome the weaknesses in your production process. 46
  47. 47. Chapter 5 –Essential Leadership Skills Setting a Good Example • Driver of the Company’s Mission, Vision and Values The shortcoming is the inability to translate the mission, vision and values into behaviours and practices and then have the discipline to practice those behaviours every day. The senior leaders must, at all times, role model the behaviours they want to see throughout the organization. If the leaders do not act as role models all of the time, the behaviours and culture changes they desire in the organization will not take place. Once leaders set the organisational vision, mission and values, or other foundational factors, they must communicate them so clearly that all employees understand what the organization stands for, what the organization believes, their role, and how they are expected to act. You would have seen the vision, mission and value statement of the company all framed up and hung on the wall. But there is a high possibility that you would not have read it. You are not alone. Many employees pass by and see it every day, but would not have cared to read it, what more to understand and practice it. The mission, vision and values are the guiding compass of the organization and without being put to practice, it would just remain as wall decorators. As a team leader, this 47
  48. 48. change starts from you. You would need to live up to it and be an example your team members can follow. • Lead Change A good supervisor will inspire others to achieve the vision of change, usually by providing examples of other opportunities that will benefit them and how they will be rewarded by the changes. Change allows a new platform for essential employees to shine. Change should incorporate ideas from all employees and inspire them to be creative in coming up with solutions. It should promote new ways of thinking and putting teams together to create processes that can be utilised in ways that are exciting and beneficial to the organization and its employees. If there is anything constant in this world, it is change. Change is a continuous process. You need to embrace change as the survival of the organization depends upon it. As supervisors, we are tasked to lead change, and we need to implement it tactfully, as wrong approach could have adverse impacts on the organization. You would need to learn what is the change all about, clear the ambiguities with the higher management and have a game plan on how to execute it down the line. Your team member must be briefed about, answer their concerns with sincerity and reassure them of the benefits versus the inconveniences that may need to endure during the change period. If your team member accepts the 48
  49. 49. rationale and cost-benefit of the change, your task would be made a lot easier. • Lead by Example As a supervisor in your organization, you should send the right message to your team members and colleagues. Your team members and the people at your workplace are expecting that you will lead by example. You may think that your work can speak for itself, but on the other hand, your professional image and everyday demeanour may not project the impression that you ultimately want. Just as you make snap judgments every day about others, the people you come into contact with make assumptions about you based on each interaction. As a human, it can be hard to consistently lead by example. We have our flaws and shortcomings. Unfortunately, this can’t be made an excuse and we must work hard at overcoming it. Our team members look up to us and we can’t disappoint them. We are not perfect, and we can’t be perfect. But the quest for perfection mustn’t stop. If we have flawed along the way, don’t get too hard on yourself. What is more important is for us to come clean, explain ourselves and seek the understanding and forgiveness of others for our shortcomings. Just be careful not to make our shortcomings habitual. Leading by example needs the supervisor to be disciplined, punctual, walking the talk, good personal 49
  50. 50. grooming, keeps cleanliness and on. Importantly, one must also be honest, trustworthy and a person of integrity. These are matters which speaks of the reputation, character and credibility of the supervisor, and if these are lost, it can be hard to regain. Empowering and Energising • Inspire and Energise Team Members Your team members may have all the expertise in the world but, if they're not motivated, it's unlikely that they'll achieve their true potential. On the other hand, work seems easy when people are motivated. Motivated people have a positive outlook, they're excited about what they're doing, and they know that they're investing their time in something that's truly worthwhile. In short, motivated people enjoy their jobs and perform well. All effective supervisors want their team to be filled with people in this state of mind. That's why it's vital that you, as a supervisor, keep your team feeling motivated and inspired. The level of motivation in staffs depletes quickly and it has to be constantly recharged. We can charge them up during our regular meetings with them, during team building events, company annual dinners and such, which are good opportunities to keeps staffs motivated. But these are just irregular formal sessions, and supervisors need to do more on a regular basis and at any given opportunity. These sessions could be conducted on 50
  51. 51. an informal basis, especially when you notice things are going down well with any members of your team. Lending them an ear, listening to them and encouraging them are little things that goes a long in uplifting them. You may not have the answers to all their problems, but by listening, you showed you cared. Share your experience or of others of a similar situation, that could boost and motivate them to rise up with zest. It is also important that you stay motivated and seen motivated, otherwise you’d be the last person your team members want to meet for some motivation. • Empower Employees A good business is one where employees feel empowered by their bosses to do their jobs independently and find creative solutions to their departments’ biggest problems. A great business is one where employees feel empowered to solve any problem they encounter, even if it falls outside of their job responsibilities. Learning how to empower others in the workplace is particularly important for people in support roles. Focus on empowering your coworkers to find more time for your own work and spend less time repeatedly answering the same questions. When your team members grow in their career, you grow in yours. Empowering your staffs would be one method of developing and preparing them for higher responsibilities. It means you delegate some of your responsibilities to them 51
  52. 52. together with a little authority. It does not mean getting some else to do the job you are paid for. You are not giving up your responsibility or authority to someone, it must remain with you. Instead, you are sharing it with your team member, someone whom in your view has the potential for career development. Supervisors may find it hard to empower staffs it there is a trust deficit. They find it hard to trust others as they would be the one facing the brunt if things go wrong. But how to know who you could trust? It is not until you’ve given them the trust and they prove you wrong. With such people you could discount them in the future. Until such time, you must learn to trust everyone, and this is the risk you have to take. Leading Your Team • Involve Everyone – Use Team Approach A lot of workforces suffer from poor communication, lack of trust, and low engagement, all of which erode the chances of teamwork in the workplace. It’s obvious to see that an organization benefits when its employees are working together synergistically. Good teamwork helps to build morale in the workplace, which makes workers more productive and ultimately improves profits. For organisations that have excellent teamwork, problem solving is easier, since people with different skills and knowledge will work together to 52
  53. 53. produce a creative solution. Without good teamwork in the workplace, it’s difficult to progress as a business. When you are given a task by the higher management, which could be an important task, involving your team members, you would need to discuss this with all your team members. During the meeting, give them the details but encourage solutions from them. Otherwise, your members may feel that their presence in the discussion is only a waste of time of their time. Ideally, you could share the details of the task and throw it to them for possible solutions. You may already have the solution in mind, but do not spell it yet. Pose them with guiding questions in line with the solution you already have in mind. Eventually, they would come with the same solution as yours, but perceived as theirs, not yours. When they believe it was their solution, they would work hard to make it happen. It’s called reverse psychology and it works to your advantage. The other challenge you might face, is getting members to vote on the solution. The easy way out is to go for majority votes. But the problem is, those who voted against it may not be happy with the outcome. If we pursue the solution based on the majority votes, the minority might not support it, and this may later cause problems. To overcome this, ideally the supervisor should have a separate session with them and try to persuade and convince them into accepting the majority decision. 53
  54. 54. Chances are, they still might not agree with you, but may support your decision, as a mark of respect for you, for having taken the trouble to speak to them. This shows you’ve received full support from all your team members by way of consensus, actually a remarkable achievement on your end. • Monitor Progress but Don’t Micromanage It’s hard watching someone make mistakes, especially if you already know how to avoid them. Staying silent while they slip up (or even do things in ways you would not) is harder. That doesn’t mean you have an excuse to micromanage them. Micromanagement is the ultimate controlling management style. Its demoralising and counter intuitive, as the desire for control to make sure everything goes to plan only creates more problems in the long term. Another aspect of developing our team members is to avoid micromanaging them. It is all about the trust and delegation as we’ve discussed earlier. There are many ways to get a job done. You may be pleased with the way you do it, but then again, others might be able to do it better, if you let them. Once you’ve told them what you wanted done, leave the details to them. It is okay for you to monitor them and check on their progress periodically, in case things get a little out of control. 54
  55. 55. But it is not okay to literally stand behind their back and keep telling them what to do next. Supervisors need to be patient with their team members. They are going through a learning process, the one you once went through. When things are not done the way you would’ve wished, do not be tempted to take away the task from them and do it yourself. Instead, guide them through until it gets done. Your team members work would only get better as they go along, making you proud of them someday. 55
  56. 56. Chapter 6 –Managing Conflicts at Workplace Workplace Conflicts Workplace conflict includes any type of conflict which takes place within a workplace or among team members and/or supervisors. Any type of conflict which involves employees, managers, owners, customers, or others present in a workplace can be an example of workplace conflict. The term workplace conflict is used to describe interpersonal or employer-employee conflict in a workplace. Supervisors could find themselves in some kind of conflict with their team members, bosses, other departments within the organization, or with third parties outside the organization, such as suppliers, regulatory authorities and so on. You may have learned to deal some and to solve some, but there would always be new issues cropping up that could result in conflict. • What Creates Conflicts? Conflict in the workplace could be the result of poor management, unfair treatment, unclear job roles, inadequate training, poor communication, poor work environment, lack of equal opportunities, bullying and harassment, significant changes to products, organisational charts, appraisals or pay systems. It is important to 56
  57. 57. understand the root cause of an individual's or group's unhappiness. You can put policies and procedures in place to help prevent and manage workplace conflict, but you simply cannot eradicate them. Competition for resources is one common source of conflict. Conflicts over car parking space, workspace, work related tools and resources creates conflict, when these needs are scarce and limited in the organization. We could be working in an environment, where the people come from different age group, culture and educational background, and these people are bound to see and understand things differently. This different school of thoughts could also lead to conflicts. The rules and regulations are perhaps rigid in the organization and this could create frustrations among employees. Some of these rules and regulations could have been there since decades and changes were not made to reflect the current times. These regulations may seem outdated and impractical and when the management doesn’t take heed, it may cause an employer-employee conflict. • Reasons Behind Conflicts Employee conflict may be inevitable but should never be ignored. Over time, petty grievances can turn to long- standing antagonisms that affect overall morale of the employees. Supervisors should be aware of signs of conflict and address them quickly, bringing workers together to discuss, and resolve, areas of disagreement. 57
  58. 58. Differing facts obtained from different sources information concerning a particular issue could cause conflict. The information you have may vary from the information obtained by others and when each believe theirs is the correct version, it triggers conflict. Using different method of getting a work done could contribute to conflict, if others have different ideas and preferences, in handling the same job. In an organization, long serving staffs may be happy doing things the old way and might possibly resist changes brought in by the young juniors, even if it is proven to be better. When organisational goals are given different priorities, it causes conflict. Within the management team, some may emphasise on achieving production targets, others on quality standards, customer satisfaction, profitability and so on. It may pose a challenge to juggle between all these goals, when priorities of the organization keep changing. If this conflict is left unchecked, it may even derail the vision, mission and goals of the organization. When the value system of the organization and of the individual clashes, it causes conflicts. Management may prioritise shareholder profit and wants employees to work longer hours and even on holidays. Employees may feel they need to have a work life balance and might not agree with the management’s 58
  59. 59. suggestions. When both parties are unable to compromise, it creates conflicts. • Conflict Resolution Strategies Collaboration strategy involves both parties working towards a mutual goal, with equal investment and equal energy. This is typically looked at as a win-win situation. The trick is to find and discuss issues similar to both and not to waste time arguing on points of difference. Once we can begin to agree on similar points, the mood is set to overcome points of difference. Compromise strategy means that one or both of you have adjusted your standards and expectations for this issue. You may win some and be prepared to lose some. You should not take a stance of winner takes all as this is not a zero-sum game. It is no time to display ego as is the interest of the organization that must take precedence. We give in as a mark of our goodwill, in the hope that the other party may reciprocate the same in the future. Competition strategy takes effect when interests are at odds with one another, and one or both parties try to get the upper hand. This strategy leaves someone feeling like the loser. This happens when performance of individuals or department within the organization are evaluated separately and they tend to be competitive and work in silo. When everyone within the same organization trying to outsmart one another, the organization loses. Accommodation strategy is when you place the interest of the other party ahead of your own as a good will gesture. 59
  60. 60. As a word of caution, this strategy should not be used often, especially when it is clearly not your fault. In such situation, giving in too often can be construed as mark of your guilt or weakness. Avoidance strategy could lead to a lose-lose situation for both conflicting parties. Nothing gets discussed, so nothing gets resolved. It is tantamount to sweeping the problem under the carpet. If this conflict remains unresolved, overtime it may escalate into a bigger problem, which would be hard to contain, possibly causing irreparable damage to the conflicting parties and the organization. 60
  61. 61. Chapter 7 –Managing Discipline at Workplace Who Is Responsible? Discipline means a prescribed conduct or pattern of behaviour. Employee discipline at workplace can be defined as adherence to the company policies, rules, regulations as laid down by the management. If employees are not disciplined to report at work on time, take long breaks in between work or spend excessive time on social media etc. then their productivity tends to suffer. They fall behind in achieving their targets and accomplishing the task at hand. This in turn demotivates other team members and there is a vicious spiral of productivity loss with overall drop in team performance. Employee discipline contributes towards productive work environment and ensures smooth functioning of the organization. It is one of the primary responsibilities of human resource division to have in place disciplinary policies and ensure adherence. It would be nearly impossible to manage you team members if they lack discipline. Each has to know their roles and responsibilities and perform them diligently for the smooth running of the operations. Any weak link in the 61
  62. 62. chain, could put the whole team in disarray, derailing the mission, vision, goals and objectives of the organization. Supervisors must be a shining example of discipline. It is hard to get the team members to follow discipline if we as their supervisor find it hard to do so. If our team members are better disciplined than us, our standing and reputation as their supervisor becomes tarnished. Our conduct would put the management in an embarrassing situation, that could possibly warrant them to demote or dismiss our services from the organization. The role of the human resource department is to facilitate the enforcement of discipline across the whole organization. They are there to help the respective supervisors in handling and resolving disciplinary issues. It must be remembered that, it is the job of every supervisor to manage the discipline of their staffs. It cannot be seen as the sole responsibility of human resource division alone. When it comes to managing discipline in the workplace, it becomes everyone’s responsibility. •Enforcing Discipline Often, we associate discipline with punishment. Well, that’s not the case. An effective disciplinary policy ensures proper order at the workplace through corrective behaviour. Discipline management is intended to promote a minimum acceptable behaviour by employees. With organisational discipline, the employees learn to behave in 62
  63. 63. a controlled and responsible way and start abiding by the guidelines laid down by the organization. There are labor laws which govern the enforcement of discipline at workplace. Supervisors must take the initiative to get hold of this labor Act, read and understand it, as this would enable them to enforce discipline within the ambits of the labor law. In enforcing discipline, this must be carried without fear or favour, for everyone is equal before the law. There must never be double standards and if this happens, the whole enforcement of discipline in the workplace would become a mockery. When team members believe that the law applies to all, they would respect and adhere to it. Supervisors must be conversant on the workings of the disciplinary process. When unsure, it is good to refer the matter with human resource division for advice. They must master the disciplinary process, beginning from verbal warning right until dismissal to avoid running fault of the law. It has negative financial implications to the organization, if the courts find that the organization has unlawfully terminated the services of an employee. 63
  64. 64. Chapter 8 –Motivating and Coaching Your Team Ask Versus Tell Approach Don’t tell the employee what to do, instead ask powerful questions. This allows the employee to create their own solutions. When they go through the thought process to get to resolution, they are much more bought in. It is their idea. Your team members will be developed and challenged in a way that truly builds new skills and enables them to learn from experiences. In are in constant communication with our team members in the day to day running of business operations. We are their point of reference and expected to know the answers to their questions. This could put us, as their supervisors in a difficult position, especially when we may not have answers to all their questions. We could reverse the situation by asking them the right questions. This would make them think of possible solutions and they’ll be amazed by their ability to find the answers on their own. When the above method is carried out on a regular basis, you’ll notice a drop in the number of them wanting to see you for answers. They would now become thinkers, able to solve problems on their own and would only come to us as 64
  65. 65. a last resort. This does not mean that they are free to make all decision on their own, as for matters above their limit of authority, they would still need to bring it to you for your authorisation. •Focus on The Task When discussing a problem related to work, it is important that you separate the people from the problem. People are not the problem, and if you approach an issue as if they are, you likely won’t get anywhere. Handling people sensitively and respectfully is a prerequisite for successful problem solving. Continually ask yourself whether you’re separating the people from the problem and learning to effectively deal with both. Supervisors must learn to separate between the problem and the person. It is a mark of professionalism on the part of the supervisor. When mistakes are done by our team members, the focus must be on solution finding, not personal berating. During your rounds of inspection at the workplace, your mission is to identify solutions, not fault finding. It must be our mission to catch people doing right and to turn it into an opportunity to praise them. It must never be our mission to catch them doing wrong and using it as an opportunity to humiliate them. In the end, the whole idea is to make it a learning process for everyone. We must all learn from each other’s success and failures. We are all in this together. The path 65
  66. 66. towards continuous improvement is then paved for the continued prosperity of the whole organization. •Coaching Objectives Coaching can be defined as a continuous process of providing team members with feedback to enhance, maintain and improve their performance. The supervisor observes performance, shares knowledge and expertise, and provides encouragement to assist team members in continuously reaching higher levels of performance. Coaching enables team members to develop their thinking and actions in response to differing situations. The coaching approach encourages learning, growth and teamwork all at the same time. Each of the team members are responsible for the tasks they are entrusted with. The supervisor is tasked to be accountable for the overall operations. When things go wrong, the individual team member is held responsible, and the supervisor, together with the other team member must work together to overcome the problem. As for reporting it to the higher management, the supervisor must take the brunt as a mark of his or her accountability. In the event you push the blame to your team members, your position as their supervisor would be meaningless. A worthy supervisor is the one who credits his team for their achievements and takes full blame for their shortfalls. 66
  67. 67. To ensure members of the team are doing it right all the time, efforts must be amplified to keep team members focused on their tasks. The supervisor needs to facilitate and coach them into achieving the set organisational goals and objectives. It would give your team members a sense of accomplishment and for you, a sense of satisfaction. •Coaching Situations The goal of performance coaching is not to make the employee feel bad. The goal of coaching is to work with the employee to solve performance problems and to improve the work of the team, and the department. Done well, coaching can help an employee to continuously improve their skills, experience, and ability to contribute. Coaching is an effective tool for supervisors to deploy in their efforts to help team members succeed and increase their skills and their potential opportunities for promotion or lateral moves to more interesting positions. Coaching is an ongoing process. It is not something that supervisors do on an occasional basis and expect the message to permanently set in with their team members. In fact, coaching is a continuous process and needs to be done repeatedly, as humans have a short memory span. Formal coaching can take place in the form of pre work briefings. You could recap with your team members on what has happened the day before and to make todays performance better than yesterday. This can also take place during scheduled meetings, where your members can come out of it learning something new that could help them perform 67
  68. 68. better in their jobs. Informal coaching can take place during your walkabouts around the factory area. This is an opportunity to meet them in person and share valuable information with them that could help boost their work performance. •Coaching Plus Points When organisations coach employees, benefits to the organization include, overcome costly and time-consuming performance problems, strengthen employees’ skills. The supervisor can delegate more tasks to their employees and focus on more important supervision responsibilities, boost productivity by helping your employees work smarter. This helps to develop a deep bench of talent who can step into your shoes as you advance in the company. It also helps to improve employee retention, as employees are more loyal and motivated when their bosses take time to help them improve their skills. When employees are coached, they build valuable skills and knowledge that they can use to advance in their careers. They would feel supported and encouraged and experience the pride and satisfaction that comes from the coaching process. Coaching team members could be tedious and tiring. It needs of loads of patients in seeing this process through. But it is not without its advantages. Just as the continuous beatings of waves turns rocks into fine sands, the same metaphor applies on coaching on your team members. Over a period of time, they could only get better in their 68
  69. 69. job. When individuals improve, the team improves as a whole. It lays the path for performance excellence to become the culture of the organization. This culture would be self-regulated and new members would automatically blend in as the structure is already well in place. Communication among the team would be smooth, as information updating, and sharing would be transparent and ongoing to keep up the performance excellence culture intact. Positive changes would be readily accepted and implemented in the interest of performance improvement across the organization. When we build the people, they build the business. Perhaps, you would no longer be their supervisor. Your employers may have found your replacement. You’ve probably received a letter from the management. It is time for you to move up! 69
  70. 70. Parting Words It is said that the best place to horn your management and leadership skills is at supervisors’ level. You are the man of the moment, the go between the higher management and your subordinates. You may receive brick bats from both ends, but it turns you into an excellent supervisor. You must be reliable in your planning and able to execute it well with good communication skills with everyone you come to contact with. You need to always keep discipline and morale high, in you and your team members, if you wish to be taken seriously in the organization. There is always development that is taking place around you. If you want to be kept abreast, you would need to continuously upgrade your skills and knowledge. The cooperation and support you receive from others depend heavily on the kind of the relationship you have with them. Your success or failure relates to your attitude towards yourself and others. If it needs correction, do it now. Great knowledge and skills are useless when your attitude stinks. Learn to be of some value to others. Harness your capabilities, in the areas of communication, decision making, problem solving, cost management and people skills. There is more to it, but these are the cores. Treat the organization you work for as your own and learn to think like an entrepreneur. Be creative and innovative to come up 70
  71. 71. with continuous improvement plans that would make the stakeholders and shareholders happy having you. Be the best in what you do and do what it takes to be one. You’ll be seen as someone of much valuable, in the eyes of both the higher management and your team members. If you could build yourself, you could also build others. Develop your team members to their highest potential. Stay close to them as their mentor and counsellor, ever ready to share and care for them. They would live your legacy for it takes a leader to build another. Make it possible, for perhaps you could be the chosen one. 71
  72. 72. About the Author Mohamad Idrakisyah is passionate about building people as they would help build the business. When people learn to manage themselves, they are capable of managing others, and in the process are better positioned to manage and build the business. He has fervently shared his knowledge, skills and experience with different level of audiences, during his years in the corporate world and later as professional trainer and consultant, specialising in the areas of business management, leadership and talent development. He has served in public listed companies in senior management positions, both in Malaysia and in countries abroad. He has developed a flair for managing and developing people from various educational, religious and cultural backgrounds. His thoughts and ideas have influenced many young and aspiring individuals, who in turn, have strived to make their own positive contributions at their workplaces. Mohamad Idrakisyah also writes regularly, contributing articles of interests to the print and electronic media. He concentrates his writings on matters related to personal development, in connection to business, management, leadership and current issues. In addition, he is a regular speaker at corporate companies, schools and universities, sharing his thoughts to help develop human capital to its highest potential. 72
  73. 73. Mohamad Idrakisyah is an ardent believer in lifelong learning. He graduated in automotive engineering, has a master’s degree in business administration and is currently pursuing his doctorate in business and management. Mohamad Idrakisyah endeavours to enrich the lives of others through knowledge, so they in return could enhance the lives of others in their own unique way. It would be in keeping with God’s will for His creations, to live life to its fullest, in service to Him and all His creations. 73
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